Jessica McDonald

Executive Vice-President, Heenan Blaikie Consulting

Jessica McDonald

Jessica McDonald
Executive Vice-President, Heenan Blaikie Consulting

Jessica McDonald is a management executive and consultant specializing in the field of relationships and dispute resolution between governments, the private sector and Aboriginal communities. She has led landmark discussions including negotiation of the “New Relationship” between government and First Nations in British Columbia. She has acted as Chief Negotiator or key advisor on numerous commercial transactions, major development or land use initiatives and other sensitive business proposals, often resolving previously intractable disputes. 

Following a decade with the provincial public service and a number of years consulting in Crown land and natural resource management, Ms. McDonald served from 2003 - 2009 as Deputy Minister to Premier Gordon Campbell in British Columbia. From 2005 onwards she held the most senior public service position in the provincial government as Deputy Minister to the Premier, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the BC Public Service, responsible for oversight of all aspects of government operations.

As head of the BC Public Service, Ms. McDonald initiated a bold human resources renewal program, achieving a 10-point increase in employee engagement with positive gains sustained over multiple years including economic downturn. These results were complemented by the organization’s first-ever recognition as one of BC’s Top 50 Employers, Canada’s Top 100 Employers, Canada’s Top 25 Family Friendly Employers, and Canada’s 30 Greenest Employers.

She is a member of the British Columbia Arbitration and Mediation Institute and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Canada, and has also served on the Board of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, including Chair of International Programs.

She has been recognized nationally for her leadership in innovation and employee engagement, including the IPAC/Deloitte National Gold Award for Public Sector Leadership. She has been named amongst Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 and Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women, and was appointed to Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women Hall of Fame.

Ms. McDonald joined Heenan Blaikie Consulting, Heenan Blaikie LLP’s consulting arm, in January 2010.